Before Peter Pan was Peter Pan

Audiences will be invited to fly, dream and join the adventure of “Peter and the Starcatcher” in East Carolina University’s McGinnis Theatre on Oct. 11-14.

The play is a prequel to the famous “Peter Pan” and explains where Peter came from and what happened before the original story began.

“Peter Pan” was written in the early 1900s by J.M. Barrie. The play had enormous success in London where it first appeared. Peter Pan became a literary icon appearing in novels, paintings and even sculptures.

In 2004, Dave Barry and Ridley Pierce published the children’s book “Peter and the Starcatchers.” Since then, there have been more than 300 performances on Broadway – resulting in five Tony Awards – based on the book, and now ECU’s School of Theatre and Dance is bringing it to Pirate Nation.

Director Patricia “Patch” Clark has taught more than 20 years in the theatre department at ECU, where she has won many accolades for her Storybook Theatre. But “Peter and the Starcatcher” marks her directing debut for a main stage production.

“It’s just so much fun. It’s so engaging. There’s adventure, swashbuckling, choreographed sword fighting and more,” Clark said.

The play has lots of characters from the original “Peter Pan,” many of which have different names. Captain Hook is Stache and Wendy is Molly, just to name a few. New characters who aren’t in the original “Peter Pan” will also be incorporated.

“We’ll keep the crocodile, Mr. Grin, as a surprise. So no one will miss him in the play,” Clark said.

Matthew Donahue, who portrays Smee, is a senior theatre arts major concentrating in musical theatre and professional actor training. He enjoys the play because “‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ invites the audience to be a part of the magic with the characters,” Donahue said.

Clark hopes the audience will see the play’s underlying messages.

Hurricane Michael update

The 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 performance of “Peter and the Starcatcher” has been changed to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14.

Oct. 11 ticket-holders will be able to present their existing ticket Sunday evening. No exchange is necessary. Patrons who cannot make it Sunday evening should contact the box office at 252-328-6829 or email theatre@ecu.edu.

Performance Schedule

8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12

2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13

2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14

Caption: A group crouches on board the Neverland.

A group crouches on board the Neverland.

“To have faith is to have wings. And so, to have hope is to succeed. To me that’s what the whole thing is about,” Clark said.

Children aged 8 and older are encouraged to attend. The show runs about two hours with one intermission and starts at 8 p.m. Oct. 11-13. There also will be matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14. A meet-and-greet photo session will be held at the matinee performance on Oct. 13.

Tickets are available online or at the box office. The cost for the general public is $15, and students and youth tickets are $10.

For more information, contact the McGinnis Theatre Box Office Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., at 252-328-6829. The box office remains open until curtain time on performance dates.

Caption: ECU student Joseph Webster portrays the sinister captain Bill Slank.

ECU student Joseph Webster portrays the sinister captain Bill Slank.